Unfortunately, many drugs used to treat lupus induce unpleasant side effects. These side effects can be as minor as an upset stomach from antimalarial drugs or as major as increased risk of heart disease from NSAIDs. Researchers are studying new methods to treat lupus, but the lack of successful clinical trials hamper progress.
It is exceptionally difficult to develop treatments for lupus for a variety of reasons. The greatest barrier is the fact that there is no precise cause for lupus, which means researchers cannot select a specific protein to use as a target for inhibitors. Additionally, no two patients experience the same symptoms or flare patterns. This adds a level of complication to patient selection and endpoint definition for clinical trials.